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Rockie Mountain Hola The Colorado
2003-01-19 23:52
by Mike Carminati

Rockie Mountain Hola

The Colorado Rockies signed Jose Hernandez and Steve Reed today according to the AP.

Reed is a good, right-handed reliever and was an original Rockie.

Hernandez signed for a measly $800K and one year (according to It was not disclosed if Hernandez would play shortstop, where he was an All-Star last year, or third. The Rockies have Juan Uribe at short and were looking at some combination of Brent Butler, Greg Norton, and newly-inked Chris Stynes at third. Hernandez would be a pronounced improvement at either position. Uribe is only 23 and wasn't bad in his short call-up in 2001 but showed very little offense in his first full year as a starter (.688 OPS overall, .509 on the road). The three third basemen, however, weren't much better, so Hernandez will probably start there and won't switch unless Uribe continues to struggle. Hernandez could have a breakout year at Coors, and he may finally be allowed to play out a season and break the all-time single-season strikeout record. The mind boggles at the number of home runs and whiffs he could tally as a Rockie.

Meanwhile, Hernandez's signing means that there is one fewer potential candidate for the Mets' third base vacancy. The only free agents that might pique their interest are retreads Ron Coomer or Shane Andrews. Their best bet appears to be Shea Hillenbrand, whom they attempted to acquire unsuccessfully in one of the Bartolo Colon three-way trades. The Rockies now have a surplus at third but may not want to trade any depending on where Hernandez will play and Uribe's status. reports that Hillenbrand may be bound for Montreal in exchange for newly-signed Tony Armas Jr. ($2.1 M). The Red Sox would then look to trade Armas, why I don't know. The Mets could then acquire high-salaried Fernando Tatis from the Expos.

In any case their options seem limited rather unsavory.

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